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Construction restrictions – Hatzidakis: New formula for off-plan construction

One of the two main proposals made by the Ministry of Environment in the summer to limit construction in areas outside the city plan will not finally reach Parliament.. As revealed by the Minister of Environment Kostis Hatzidakis in an interview with "K", the ministry chose not to finally open the difficult issue of urban road characterization, on which even today it depends whether one can build. instead, will insist on the abolition of the possibility of building on plots smaller than 4 acre (the so-called "derogations"), but providing a longer "transitional" period………

As Mr.. Hatzidakis, the ministry will give absolute priority to the preparation of urban plans for the whole country, starting with all the Cyclades, the Dodecanese and Crete.

Regarding energy issues, the minister focuses on reducing energy costs by eliminating market distortions and implementing the "target model". In the controversial issue of the RES market deficit, he categorically states that the cost will not be borne by the consumers, nor by PPC, which has just "left the hospital"..

- Will the ministry insist on removing its deviations from the plan or will we still have a missed opportunity;

- The legislation will remain the same in its philosophy: is a reform that aims to protect the environment and thereby increase the value of citizens' property. We need to put order in the off-plan construction which, noteworthy, is a Greek peculiarity, it does not exist anywhere in Europe. So we will keep our philosophy in a series of settings, such as reducing the building factor to off-plan by 10% generally and specifically for industry against 33%, the exclusion of the legalization of arbitrary through rate transfer, the use of the rate transfer for the acquisition of common areas, strengthening construction in an organized context. It is a series of useful environmental reforms.

- What changes will we see in the urban planning law;

With regard to derogations below 4 acre, we insist on abolishing the 2022. But in this transitional period of two years (until their abolition) the time needed for the permits from the forest office or the archeological service will not count, if not given by then. Because it has been correctly pointed out that in many cases, especially the archeological service does not give the owner the required certificates within two years. Therefore: whoever is in a hurry to build will be able to do so. Who is not in a hurry but wants to build at some point, has no reason to feel "left out", because we will proceed quickly and en masse to the preparation of local urban plans so that the discussion on off-plan construction enters another base.

That is, a pre-approval of the building permit will be given, which will be "frozen" until the certificates are issued;

- Exactly. The building right will not be lost. This is for those who are urgent, which we know is less than 5% all building permits. Those who are not urgent, will be able to build after a few years based on local urban plans, as is done today where there is urban planning, B.C. in Sifnos, in Serifos, at Paros, governed by decrees.

- The town planning decrees of these islands include derogations because they have not yet been repealed. How to remove the derogations as requested by the CoC, if you allow them again after a few years, through any urban plan prepared for an area;

- The CoP has no objections to the areas of the country that have urban planning. The CoE's objections concern anarchy in off-plan construction. With the elaboration of the urban plans in the rest 80% country, the discussion becomes different, we change stadium. An urban plan may allow construction below 4 acres, but not naughty, but based on local peculiarities. For example, on a small island where there are mostly small plots, common sense says you need to be more flexible about the minimum amount of space one needs to build.

- The regulation that included the draft law for the division of roads into two categories, on which it will depend whether one can build off-plan or not, it will remain;

- We have decided to keep the current legislation in force, until the adoption of local urban plans.

- You decided it because of the criticism you received, mainly from the TEE, that arrangements to restrict off-plan construction will cause enormous social and economic upheaval;

- Both the Prime Minister and I are supporters of a free economy and entrepreneurship and we do not need a credential for this. But growth must be sustainable, not to the detriment of the environment. We saw it in Mati, in Mandra, we see it in many tourist areas. We as a society must decide to look 10 or 20 years ahead. It is easy for us politicians to say "build everywhere and without rules", to satisfy the voters.

- Then why withdraw the basic setting to limit it off-plan;

- Because the state is not ready to have the categorization of roads ready tomorrow morning. We have weighed the issue politically: we maintain the abolition of derogations and we postpone the implementation of the new framework for roads until a local urban plan is instituted.

- When will the elaboration of the urban plans start and with what financing;

- It will be our immediate priority in the ministry in the coming years. indeed, The draft law will include an article on the appointment of a special manager to coordinate the whole process. The first "package" of urban studies will be announced immediately after the adoption of the urban planning bill. It will include all of the Cyclades, of the Dodecanese and Crete, as well as some congested tourist areas from the rest of the country. The funding will come from a combination of the European Investment Bank and the Development Fund. In each case, funding is not the issue. The elaboration of urban plans is the central pillar of our reform.

- For Mykonos and Santorini, issued and suspended for new tourist permits;

- Our goal is to have their urban plans completed in a year and a half.

- So you will proceed to direct assignments again;

- No. We are in contact with the Ministry of Infrastructure to see the simplification of the tender process. Because we know that this case can not wait.

- Arbitrarily. You have decided what will happen to the category 5, for which the deadline has expired;

- When the bill comes to Parliament, in about a month, this setting will also be inside. It will definitely include areas affected by natural disasters.

- The review of forest maps has been extended again, while two appeals have already been filed against it in the CoC. Where are we going?;

- I have the assurance of the General Directorate of Forests that in two years from today the work of forest maps will be completed for the 100% country. If we left it like that, with the pace of examining objections would never end. It is the real philanthropic policy that closes the issue in time, not to send it to the Greek calendars.

The platform

- There are many complaints from engineers about the operation of the TEE platform over time. Why, if you are a proponent of a free economy, you are not bidding on these online applications, such as the digital map, electronic building permits, despite assigning them directly to the TEE;

- In general, the platform works satisfactorily. The problem was because the platform has specific strengths and because over time as Greeks we are "last minute". As for the assignments, if you exclude the digital map and the urban plan for Mati, all the rest were pre-existing in my term.

We will support RES, solution through dialogue with their owners

- There has been an upheaval in the electricity market over how to close their "hole" 287,6 million. euros of the Special RES Account (ΕΛΑΠΕ). The RES industry is concerned about the possibility of imposing an extraordinary levy on guaranteed prices and speaks of uncertainty at a time of high investment interest and at the same time ambitious national targets in the sector.. You share the concerns;

- The government is committed to a sustainable development policy and can only support RES policy. This is recorded in the National Plan for Energy and Climate (CVTS) but also in the legislation we have passed to simplify licensing. We have, therefore, clear handwriting samples for RES and green energy support.

- The main argument of RES producers is that last year, that ELAPE was in surplus, you got 400 million. for the reduction of ETMEAR and the rescue of PPC and that if this did not happen there would be no problem today.

- I answer that the current balance of ELAPE was negative against 17 million. euros in March and against 61 million. euros in April. What happened in April; Did the minister change?, we implemented a special measure; Or did the coronavirus affect and therefore reduce power consumption and ETMEAR revenues?; In Germany, this time we are talking, the corresponding account deficit is 4 billion. euro. So it is better not to hide behind our finger. There is an unprecedented crisis, which affects all industries and all countries, and in the face of this crisis we must take a social responsibility. Property owners, who were charged reductions 30% in rents so that Greek companies do not fall out, are Greeks of second category;

- Last year we had the problem of PPC, this year of RES. When will this vicious circle end?;

- This is our priority. The government needs to reorganize the energy sector in general from any distortions. We started with PPC. If PPC collapsed, where the owners of RES would sell today; Greece must take a series of structural decisions on the future of energy, for the simple reason that we have the highest wholesale electricity price in all of Europe. This is because the energy market in our country is not working smoothly - and it is not working because we do not have the target model, that is, a free market model, as it works in the others 26 European countries. At the same time, the industry is under pressure, the ordinary consumer is pressured and the owners of RES, I'm not saying illegally, legally, with an average wholesale price around 40 euros collect average price 144 euro. Wind farm owners around 90 euros and photovoltaics around 280 euro.
- They have, however, sign contracts with the State for specific compensations.

- I said legally. Obviously we will find a solution through a dialogue. We are not in conflict, we want to support RES, but we must all realize that we have an environment of social crisis.

- But you have left out of the frame, except consumers, and PPC.

- We have rightly left out the consumers, because the government takes social measures, like all governments. PPC, also, Everyone should know that it is not a thriving business. It's a business that just came out of the hospital. We have to put it back, so that everyone remains immobile in everything,what he has conquered throughout the previous period; We will not do a bad job for PPC.

- Therefore, the entire burden will be borne by the RES industry.

- There are many different solutions. Under no circumstances will a measure be taken that would jeopardize the loan obligations of investors and we are in discussions with the banks about this.. We will also look at alternative scenarios that can help solve the problem, such as the redistribution of resources from the Green Fund. And, sure, a portion will be funded by the Recovery Fund.

- You will go to horizontal meters;

- No, there will be no horizontal adjustments and in any case they will be taken through dialogue. I must also say that the measures have a special character precisely because of the special circumstances. We will find a solution to deal with the consequences of the coronavirus, but we should also see medium-term solutions for ETMEAR and ELAPE. The most important issue, Nevertheless, is the cost of energy, That is why we will apply the target model from November 1st.
Chryssa Liaggou , George Lialios
Source: daily

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